a tall tale

one of my bucket list locations is kodiak island in alaska.  since we were young boys playing in the creek outside of our house hunting snakes with sticks, catching fish with spit, and building forts in sideways trees.

kodiak is where the last, real america is.

my younger, larger, stronger brother was there for a summer with the united states coast guard.  but i'm the one writing this, so obviously i'm more clever.

it's not an easy place to get to. and i don't mean that because we live on the east coast.  once you get to the pacific northwest, it is still an adventure just to get to kodiak. an airline, a small plane, and a ferry ride. i'm there.  2.63 of my 10 day vacation spent on travel there and back.

the first few hours at the port, and brother has told me everything there is to know about kodiak.  and the things i don't want to know.

good news:  brother has to work in the afternoon of the next day, and i can borrow a dingy from his friend to put around the island.  bad news:  i stink at fishing.

that first night brother takes me to a dive where i am sure to say i had the best salmon on the planet- for $10.   i saw a moose on the sidewalk on our way home. it was difficult to fall asleep when it's light outside at 1 am. i tossed and turned.  i was so pumped.

coffee never tasted so dull than that next morning. brother took me to buy a fishing license and borrow some supplies from various people who all had massive beards.

i had a map, instructions as to where to go, a satellite phone, food, water, and all the supplies for fishing. i didn't need to pack any extra anxiety- i never leave home without it.  brother's shift at the post could not come fast enough. after lunch i pushed out.

an hour later i found the most remote, beautiful bay in the unknown world.  this was my place.  the water was calm.  the mountains broke the bite in the wind.  the sun was crisp yet far away.  i've never been so cold. my coffee thermos might have well been an espresso shot.

i "fished" all day. exactly as i was told. unsurprisingly, 4 hours later, i caught nothing.  i traded the rod for a book. but i read very little because the actual fishing had begun.  i realized i was not alone, i was sharing this gem of a cove with an osprey who spent the afternoon showing off as to how real anglers do it.  

i spent hours cheering his majesty as he swooped and dived and threw massive fish in the air.  a few gulls strolled by, but the osprey kindly let them know where they were allowed to fish.

it's hard to believe your watch when the sun is in a new home in the sky.  i was warmish finally.  but i needed to head back to pick up brother.

i went back around the bend, and the harbor wasn't there.  lost is real- the entire island disappeared. the map and the gps had to be miscalculating.  brother would be off duty soon.  i rounded a few more corners always coming back to where i had started.  kodiak was no where.  the osprey was gone.

brother had been off duty for nearly an hour when the satellite phone rang.  he laughed. i cringed. he has always had "buddies" who could help. always.  i was never able to talk to people like he could.

45 minutes later, here they came.  brother had a big smile. somewhere between my driving, my not catching fish and the osprey- i had drifted. it was 9pm. the sun was still shining. brother never let me forget that story.

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